call of duty Warzone

Call of Duty Warzone’s free to play model to become the norm for other Activision Blizzard franchises

Activision Blizzard has released its fourth quarter results, showing revenues of $2.41 billion – surpassing the expected revenue of $2 billion. Net bookings for the quarter were up 13 per cent to $3.05 billion.

For the full year, the company posted revenues of $8.09 billion, up 25 per cent, while net revenues were up 44% to $8.42 billion

Much of that success has been, predictably, driven by the Call of Duty franchise. The series nearly doubled its net bookings in 2020, driven by the first full year of Call of Duty Mobile, the success of free to play title Call of Duty: Warzone, as well as the release of Black Ops Cold War. The franchise now receives almost 400 million monthly active users.

Battle Royale title Warzone has proven to be particularly successful for the company. The game released in March 2020, and alongside Call of Duty Mobile, has been instrumental in expanding the Call of Duty playerbase. Speaking about the franchise’s move to include free to play titles, Ativision president and chief operating officer Daniel Alegre said:

“If you look back at the reach for the franchise since we embarked on this new direction, we have seen monthly active users grow from approximately 40 million in 2018 to over 100 million in 2020, and we see more opportunities to grow the user base.”

Warzone will play a “central part” in future content plans for the company.  In fact, Activision Blizzard revealed that it intends to replicate the Warzone model across its other franchises.

“We are accelerating our path to reach a billion people as we apply the Call of Duty framework across our other franchises, including premium content, free-to-play access to all consumers, expansion to mobile and continuous regular delivery of in-game content,” said the company.

One such example of this new approach is the announcement that multiple mobile free-to-play Warcraft titles are currently in “advanced development.”

With regards to its other franchises, 2021 is going to be a quiet year for the company, as Activision Blizzard revealed that neither Overwatch 2 nor Diablo 4 will release in 2021.

“At Blizzard, in particular, our teams are hard at work on Diablo IV, Overwatch 2 and multiple mobile titles” said Alegre. “The pipeline is progressing really well, and we anticipate that 2022 will be a great year for Blizzard.”

About Chris Wallace

Chris is a freelancer writer and was MCV/DEVELOP's staff writer from November 2019 until May 2022. He joined the team after graduating from Cardiff University with a Master's degree in Magazine Journalism. He can be found on Twitter at @wallacec42, where he mostly explores his obsession with the Life is Strange series, for which he refuses to apologise.

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